The Western Athletic Conference announced Wednesday the 2014 all-conference softball teams and player awards — a list featuring three representatives from Utah Valley University. Senior infielder Debra Lovell was named first team all-conference, while fellow senior Amanda Robinson and freshman Brittney Vansway earned second-team honors.
It is the first postseason award for Lovell and Vansway, while Robinson is collecting all-conference recognition for the fourth time in her distinguished career at Utah Valley.
"This recognition is especially noteworthy because Debra and Amanda made late runs at the end of the season," UVU head coach Nikki Palmer said. "They each got off to a bit of a slow start but kept their heads down and pushed through it. Amanda has been huge for us over the last month and Debra has been very reliable with her power at the plate and has had some big hits for us. Brittney has also been one of our most consistent players this season and the fact that she is only a freshman is very exciting for the future of the program."
A junior college transfer from Midland College, Lovell earned her way to the All-WAC first team after batting a team-high .366 in conference-only play this season. The senior clubbed four home runs and drove in nine RBIs during the WAC season, posting a slugging percentage of .683 to go along with an on-base percentage of .413. Of her four home runs, two came in UVU's 13-12 win at Seattle U on April 5. Trailing 10-9 in the do-or-die seventh inning, Lovell crushed her second home run of the day to lead off the frame and kick-start what proved to be a decisive four-run rally for the Wolverines.
A third baseman for the entirety of her junior season, Lovell shifted to shortstop this season and complied a fielding percentage just under .900 for the conference season while notching a team-best 21 assists.
Robinson's second team selection comes in the wake of her late season surge at the plate. During April, the senior hit nine homers including seven over eight games. She batted .405 in April, helping push her WAC-only batting average to .303 with five home runs and a team-leading 10 RBIs. The four-year starter became UVU's all-time leader in home runs when she hit her 32nd career blast against Grand Canyon on April 12.
Following Wednesday's selection to the All-WAC second team, Robinson will end her career with all-conference selections from three different leagues. She was a first team All-Great West Conference choice as a sophomore and a first team All-Pacific Coast Softball Conference pick last season. Robinson was also first team All-PCSC during her true freshman season.
A true freshman, Vansway earned all-conference recognition during her rookie campaign after batting .357 in WAC-only play — second only to Lovell during conference action this season. Vansway drove in eight runs and hit one home run over the year's 14 WAC contests, and she led the team with an on-base percentage of .426. She is one of two freshmen to be named All-WAC.
The 2014 WAC Softball Tournament gets underway from Seattle U's Logan Field on Thursday at 12 p.m. MT, as the fourth-seeded Wolverines take on fifth-seeded Bakersfield in the opening game. The winner will advance to face No. 1 New Mexico State in a quarterfinal Thursday at 5 p.m., while the loser will play a win-or-go-home game at 7:30.
Kelsey Barak, Grand Canyon, Jr., SS
Fina Finau, New Mexico State, So., DP
Isabella Geronimo, Seattle U, So., OF
Katie Kelley, Kansas City, So., P/1B
Debra Lovell, Utah Valley, Sr., SS
Lisa Maulden, Seattle U, Jr., 1B
Bubba Morrow, Seattle U, Jr., C
Nicole Newbury, Grand Canyon, So., UT
Stephanie Pesqueira, Grand Canyon, Sr., P
Cinda Ramos, Kansas City, Jr., 1B
Lauren Regester, Grand Canyon, Jr., 1B
Lacey Rother, New Mexico State, Jr., OF
Alyssa Ruiz, New Mexico State, Sr., C
Emma Adams, New Mexico State, So., 3B
Madison Bundy, Bakersfield, Jr., OF
Lindsay Davis, Seattle U, Fr., P
Kayla Henry, Grand Canyon, Jr., OF
Jenny Hurst, Seattle U, Jr., 3B
Makayla McAdams, New Mexico State, So., P
Brennalyn Nakamura, New Mexico State, So., 2B
Amanda Robinson, Utah Valley, Sr., 1B/C
Staci Rodriguez, New Mexico State, Jr., OF
Brittney Vansway, Utah Valley, Fr., 2B
Karissa Veiga, Bakersfield, Sr., LF
Celisha Walker, New Mexico State, Sr., P
Claire Zampini, Grand Canyon, Sr., OF
Player of the Year: Lacey Rother, New Mexico StateComment on this story
Pitcher of the Year: Stephanie Pesqueira, Grand Canyon
Freshman of the Year: Lindsay Davis, Seattle U
Coach of the Year: Ann Pierson, Grand Canyon
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.